Monday, August 31, 2015

All the world was before me…

and every day, a holiday.
—John Muir 

Monday: I'm slowly acclimating to 9000 feet and not having internet access. I'm not sure which is harder. 
I climbed a steep, boring trail most of the way to Dog Lake before deciding there was no need to push myself. The air was smoky from the North fire burning in Sequoia. A black and orange butterfly landed on me, lingering for a full minute. So I went to the beach at Tenaya Lake. 
Crazy people were swimming. A woman was doing yoga. 
Then I took an easy walk through the meadows to Soda Springs. 
Cool water burbles up through the surface. 
Nearby is the Parsons Lodge designed by Bernard Maybeck for the Sierra Club. 
Such glorious architecture. 
They even have a poetry festival in August. 
My breakfast companions were a couple of bear rangers who've been camping in the backcountry all summer and scolding people for leaving food around. 
More black bears in Yosemite are killed by cars each year than die of natural causes. 
Volunteers are restoring the meadows, which like the bears, suffer from too many visitors. 
Tomorrow I'm off to May Lake, leaving the car and the luxury of a cabin to myself behind. The hike is less than the 7.5 miles I walked today. 

A woman from Long Island at dinner thought I was brave setting off on my own. Maybe if I were camping and cooking or heading off the beaten track. So far it's been glamping all the way. Hot showers. Kindling for the firewood. And warm, clear days and nights. Maybe by the time I get back I'll have a glass of wine to celebrate. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Going home

Going to the mountains is going home.  
—John Muir

Sunday: I've arrived at cabin 22 where I'm trying to get my woodburning stove going for the first time since Black Sheep in Quilotoa. 

Not too bad for a girl from the suburbs. Even if I did use all the matches.  
Oh, yeah. This is why I'm here. 
Also this. That's Half Dome from the back side. 
I took an easy stroll out to the Lyell fork of the Tuolumne River. 
I loved this tree. 
There's no electricity aside from the dining room and shop. Less prepared people line up to charge their devices. For my 7-day adventure, I have a car charger and a solar-powered external battery. We'll see how they do. (It's very sunny.)
The tent cabins come with old-fashioned looking lanterns.
There is a pay phone with a few odd free calls: God, Wells Fargo, Social Security. 
Tomorrow I'll do a harder day hike, to get used to the elevation. I met a couple at dinner doing a similar but longer loop: 55 miles for her 55th birthday. 
It's early, but I'm going to turn in while the fire's still roaring. 
There's no place like home. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
—John Muir